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Sarah Forshaw KC

“A fabulous advocate and one of the very best KC's in the business…” Chambers UK - 2023

Call 1987    Silk 2008

Practice Profile

Sarah Forshaw KC, described by an independent FT journalist as the ‘criminal barrister of choice if you can get her’, has maintained an impressive and diverse practice since taking Silk. She is frequently instructed to represent high profile individuals charged under the Sexual Offences Act and her track record marks her out as a leader in this field. 

Her skill and experience in cases involving historic sexual allegations are legendary. They include the successful defence of publicist Max Clifford against a second round of allegations from the 1970's, of a doctor accused of sexual assault on patients and of a high-profile businessman alleged to have engaged in sex with a minor. In 2019 she was instructed to defend a music producer charged with the historic rape and sexual assault of two young complainants. He was unanimously acquitted of all counts. Sarah is a contributor to "Current Practice in Forensic Medicine" [Vol 3] in particular in relation to Disclosure of evidence in sexual assault cases.

She has built a formidable reputation at the Central Criminal Court, having defended in over 50 Old Bailey murder trials. Notable successes include the defence of one of 19 boys on trial at the Old Bailey for the murder of a 15 year old schoolboy at Victoria station and of a 17 year old boy charged with a double murder in Leytonstone in a drug related gang attack. She is often sought out for young defendants in joint enterprise killings, and was involved in the recent post "Jogee" appeals of Johnson and others. More recently, she represented the first defendant in the Jodie Chesney murder. Her client was unanimously acquitted of both murder and manslaughter.

In cases of Fraud and Financial crime, she is frequently instructed to defend professional clients in the most complex and demanding cases. A firm believer that the best advocates undertake both prosecution and defence work, Miss Forshaw secured convictions for the Serious Fraud Office against all defendants in a long-running £80 million PONZI fraud. Sarah also recently successfully argued for the dismissal of all charges against her client in Operation Lunar, a multi-million Tax fraud using capital loss relief, that had been listed for several months in 2018.

General Crime experience has included the successful prosecution of the "Fake Sheikh", Mazher Mahmood, for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and successfully defending the only individual acquitted in a multi-handed international conspiracy to import £5m of cocaine from South America. She has been described as ‘silky smooth’ in court and ‘a class advocate…brief, eloquent, with a dash of theatre’.

Alongside her criminal practice, Sarah is often instructed to appear before regulatory bodies, primarily for members of the medical profession. Recent cases before the General Medical Council include the successful reinstatement of a doctor accused and subsequently cleared of raping a nurse, and the trial at GMC (following acquittals in the Crown Court) of another doctor against whom a young patient had made allegations of numerous sexual assaults, all of which were found not proven by the GMC. Sarah Forshaw KC was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2008 and quickly established a formidable practice in Silk. She was appointed co-Head of Chambers in 2009 and from 2012-2014 was Leader of the South Eastern Circuit (the largest of the six geographical Circuits of the Bar of England and Wales). She was nominated for Crime silk of the Year 2014 by Chambers & Partners and is a band 1 silk in the current edition as well as being Tier one in the Legal 500. 

Fees for regulatory and all private criminal work are agreed by the Senior Clerk.

Sarah's Privacy Policy can be downloaded here.

Recent Cases

  • R v. P [Southwark] 2023

    Rape, Sexual Assault & False Imprisonment

    Sarah Forshaw KC leading Valeria Swift and instructed by Nick Vamos of Peters & Peters, represented this young man from a wealthy and prominent overseas family, who was found not guilty of all charges against him following a two-week trial at Southwark Crown Court in February 2023.

    Accusations made by his former girlfriend had resulted in a six-count indictment, including allegations of sexual assault, false imprisonment and rape. He was released under investigation shortly after his arrest, and was granted bail to return to and remain in his home country until the trial. Peters & Peters obtained permission for him to attend all pre-trial hearings remotely. The allegations date back to 2018. Trial was originally scheduled for early 2022, but was adjourned owing to prosecution disclosure failures. The failures continued up to and during trial, with a number of disclosure hearings taking place, and significant items of disclosure provided only on the day the case was opened to the jury.

    Following the two-week trial, during which the client gave evidence, the jury returned unanimous not guilty verdicts on all charges after less than three hours’ deliberation.

  • R v MM [Isleworth Crown Court] 2023

    Rape & Controlling & Coercive Behaviour

    Led by Sarah Forshaw KC, Phoebe defended this trainee solicitor accused of rape and controlling and coercive behaviour over the course of an intimate relationship. The prosecution ultimately offered no evidence following a litany of disclosure failures and representations made by the defence. Instructed by Hickman and Rose.

  • R v ME [St Albans Crown Court] 2023

    Multiple Rapes & Assault

    Led by Sarah Forshaw KC, Phoebe defends a man accused of multiple rapes, assaults and harassment by a former partner.

  • R v. Dr B [Southwark] 2022

    Dr accused of deliberately infecting partner with HIV

    Sarah Forshaw KC defended this Doctor whom it was accused of deliberately infecting his boyfriend with HIV. They had met on the 'GRINDR' app and had a consensual sexual relationship but it was later alleged that the defendant had failed to disclose his HIV positive status. The Jury was discharged after a 5 day trial and the Crown subsequently offered no evidence.

  • R v. AS [Maidstone] 2022

    'First Date' Rape

    Sarah Forshaw KC was instructed privately to defend AS who had been accused of oral, anal and vaginal rape following a first date, after meeting on the 'Hinge' dating app. Following a nine day trial the defendant was found not guilty of all charges. Instructed by Blackfords LLP.

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Notable Cases